Kazoo News: March '24 Update

March 07, 2024

Kazoo News: March '24 Update

Hello friends,

I took a walk through Prospect Park today and noticed some snowdrop flowers popping up. Spring really is on the way! It's still chilly, but nothing a cup of tea can't fix. I'm so happy to share it with you. 

• Yay, us: Kazoo was nominated for the 2024 National Magazine Award for our Girl Power issue, bringing our total honors from the American Society of Magazine Editors to 11. For me, it really is an honor just to be nominated! But more than that, I hope your little readers liked our 2023 issues as much as the judges did. Which was your favorite?  

* Our Weird Issue is landing now. 
If you missed it, you can still subscribe to get a copy. 


• How Tech Obliterated Media: I read with interest Kara Swisher's Burn Book excerpt in NY Magazine. But I read this part, twice: "In 2000, Google struck a brief deal with Yahoo to power the search engine for the ascendant web portal, which did not then have algorithmic search capabilities. As part of the vendor arrangement, the Google logo, with its primary-color letters, was prominently featured on the much-visited Yahoo website. It was as if Coke let Pepsi put its name on cans." Fast forward to today, my kids think it's just hilarious that there was once an internet search engine called "Yahoo!" 

• And So: I read about Highlights' magazine's partnership with Google with just as much interest. In his telling, the CEO of Highlights "always wondered how Highlights and Google could have a more positive impact together." And, so based soley upon his mu$ings, they made a special issue called "Be Internet Awesome." And, Highlights, the "most trusted" children's magazine with a million young readers, gives Google half the cover for its logo! Together, they aim to teach kids age 6+ to "stay safe online," but they begin with the presumption that kids that young should be online at all. And, they're providing 250,000 additional copies to send into schools and other kids' organizations. I'm sure this is fine and will all be very empowering for young minds everywhere. 

• There is a reading crisis in America: I'm mean, just safely Google "literacy crisis." Last year, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), “the nation’s report card,” showed that not even half (43%) of fourth graders in the U.S. scored at or above a proficient level in reading. Now, it has been generally accepted in the book business that even as adults' reading habits change, children will keep reading print books, but in 2023 kids books sales were flat. It's a real head scratcher how any of this is related, or what any of us alone can do about it, but I'm going to put my phone down more and keep reading bedtime stories with my kids. There has got to be another way to be. 

• Do you ever worry you're using slang incorrectly? If you are, Gen Z will roast you for it.  Now, I scored 100% on this GenZ office slang quiz, but then, I'm old enough to translate "Internet Awesome" to the original "Internet Famous" and ... are we sure we're using this phrase correctly? Isn't "Internet Awesome" a not-ideal thing to be, like Julia Allison, just working it, being chased around NYC by Gawker? But also, Google, please get in touch so I can trade my beloved, somewhat smaller brand with you, because we need the money to pay the printer for our next issue hahaha. (JK JK about all this, so please don't bury "Kazoo magazine" in the search results even further like that Chumhum guy did to his detractors on The Good Wife.) 


• Who did I ask for permission? "I asked myself!" We should all memorize this wisdom. (This is all very cute unless this is your child, and you only have one good tube of lipstick.)


• A World of Pure Imagination: We do live in a deeply divided world, but for one afternoon in February, we all united around the terrible Willy Wonka Experience. It was, come to think of it, magical! Vulture tracked down the sad Oompa Loompa, if you want to know more. 


• Going through a Swing Change: This pro golfer/teacher/most patient women in the world, is as kind as she can be in this situation. I don't know that I would have reacted the same way.

• Amen! Also, when this happens, my daughter doesn't get to sit by the kids she clicks with, so she doesn't further develop her own friendships, too. It's stressful.

• Election blues: I can't believe this whole thing is happening again. Just trying to remind myself of John Lewis: "Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble."

• No Ice, Baby: The Ice Maker in my freezer hasn't worked for years, and while I'm constantly filling my kids cups (who love to chew ice so much, I asked their pediatrician to check their iron levels), I am only slightly comforted because I read somewhere that Kate DiCamillo's ice maker doesn't work either. It does seem such a waste to get a whole new set-up when the ice maker will probably just break again.

• What we're watching: The kids are not watching any shows these days? But I can recommend American Fiction. I'm starting Regime, and can't wait for every new Abbott Elementary. Oh, I also liked Jenny Slate's stand-up special. It's gross and funny!

• What we're reading: The teeny editor picked up Scary Stories for Young Foxes and loved it so much we immediately ordered the second one. Keisha Blain (who you might remember from Kazoo #19) has edited a new book, Wake Up America: Black Women on the Future of Democracy and Liana Finck (who you might remember from Kazoo #16) has a new parenting advice book, sans advice, How to Baby on the way. I just cracked The Riddles of the Sphinx about two things I love: word games and feminism!

• New Recipe: I had some extra dough in the freezer that I thought was sugar cookies so I thawed it one afternoon, when I was "writing" and discovered it was pie crust. But, I turned my disappointment into delight by making homemade pop tarts. Have you ever done this? Your kids will go wild. You will never eat a boxed pop tart again.

*Mine did not look this good, but they were delicious.

• Righteous Persephone: Ani Difranco (who you might remember from Kazoo #5) is taking her turn as a Greek goddess in the Tony-winning musical Hadestown. I was in Manhattan (!) at night (!) to see her on her opening night. The audience was full of Ani fans, and we gave her a standing ovation before the show even started. Ani's music has been by my side for years, and I'm so proud of her for trying something new.

• Speaking of inspirational people, Erin Entrada Kelly (whose wonderful stories you might remember from Kazoo's #16 & #24) has been undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, and I've been following along on her journey. She also has a new book: The First State of Being (which looks great).  And Christine O'Connell, or Cancer Warrior Mom (who you might remember if you helped us send paper fish to her daughter Jane on her 4th birthday), has almost reached her goal of raising 1 million dollars to Kick Childhood Cancer. If you have an extra dollar or two, you can help Christine and Jane, now 9, cross the finish line here

 • Changes: I am going to turn this here newsletter into a substack, not because it will make money but because when I send you this email, this mail service charges us $400+. So, look out for a substack from me next month. The problem is I haven't yet come up with a name for it. All these substacks have great and clever names (the Audacity, the Meteor, etc). I'm thinking of calling this something about Taylor Swift being internet awesome for the SEO. (JK JK I don't really know what SEO is.) If you can think of a good newsletter name, let me know. 

• Thank you for being here.

I'm just now beginning to plan Kazoo #33, which comes out in June. This is the fun part, but with 64 blank pages to fill, it's also the hardest. So, feel free to interrupt. If you come across anything interesting, send it my way. You can always find me at erin@kazoomagazine.com. 

Kazoo magazine
Founder & Editor-in-Chief